The former NBA star, a Chinese basketball icon, is working with top American and Chinese officials to stamp out global trade in endangered species and their parts.
Since retiring, Yao has focused much of his efforts against shark fin consumption and elephant ivory use.
Yao says, “We are not the only creatures on Earth.”
Joining him was U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Beijing for this year’s “Strategic and Economic Dialogue” with China. The U.S. and China are top destinations for wildlife trafficking.
Kerry praised Yao’s work and called ivory “today’s blood diamond” — a lucrative trade for international criminals with wide-ranging consequences for nature and local populations.
In July 2011, Yao announced his retirement from professional basketball due to a series of foot and ankle injuries which forced him to miss 250 games in his last six seasons.
Yao played 8 years in the NBA – all for the Houston Rockets. He holds career averages of 19 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, and 1.9 blocks per game. He appeared in 486 NBA games (476 started), and was selected to the NBA All-Star team 8 times.Follow @exnbadotcom
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